Two days removed from the Big Birthday BBQ and I’m still “feeling the burn” (although, I’m pretty sure that doesn’t apply to any of the food). It was a tremendously successful party filled with family and friends. They enjoyed talking amongst each other and, as usual, not with me because of my considerable hosting and cooking duties.
I thought I had mastered this thing. I even had a psuedo-timeline to map out the cooking. There’s always a wrinkle or two, though. This time it was the baby back ribs. Let me go on record here as saying I prefer St. Louis cut ribs for barbecue. In my opinion, you get more meat and less fat. Alas, there was none available at the store so I went with baby backs. Further alas, the slabs were so big they required extra time on the grill to ensure no tummy aches. And that extra time made a mockery of my cooking “timeline”.
For the first time in a couple years, my Dad and Stepmom showed up. Right at 2:30 pm (the suggested start time of the event). I looked at them dumbfounded.
“Why are you here already?” I asked in despair.
“Because you said it started at 2:30” my father calmly replied.
“No one ever shows up on time!” I complained.
Nothing was set out yet. Fortunately, I have gotten better at these things and all the cheeses and veggies were cut and waiting in platic baggies, so in a matter of minutes they had some munchies (I had already set out the Wheat Thins, peanuts and Snackens).
The second rack of ribs was still about 40 minutes from completion and I hadn’t even breaded the chicken for the parmesan, nor cooked the peppers and onions for the sausage and peppers (though the sausages were done and my Dad had to sneak a bite).
Fortunately, the beans and macaroni and cheese (7 cheeses!) were also done and as people started piling in, I managed to finish up most everything else and have everyone digging in by about 3:30 (my originally planned main course starting time, anyway). I only jettisoned one menu item (chicken wings) for lack of time and, oddly, no one wanted any hot dogs (I’ll be eating them for months). I did have to cook up a dozen more hamburgers as the rest of the food ran out.
That’s right, ran out! For the first time ever, I actually ran out of food by the end of the day. Amazing! Other than the hot dogs, 8 burgers (uncooked) and 4 corn cobs, nothing was leftover. Even most of the drinks were gone (I gave away the remaining Dr. Pepper 2 liter to my sister and the Diet Coke to my neighbor).
Of course, there were two cakes and a mango cobbler (all homemade) brought in by the attendees and there was a cold cut platter brought by one late arriving guest that proved to be my savior.
You see, from the time I got up and started to slow cook the baked beans (around 6 am) to the time the last guest left (around 7 pm), I maybe was off my feet for about 20 minutes and my last meal was breakfast. When I finally sat on the couch to play with the last remaining baby (18 months), that’s when it finally hit me.
My feet hurt, my back hurt and I was really hungry! After saying goodbye to my friend and her daughter, I picked at that cold cut plate and had some iced tea and some fruit. And then I crashed.
The next day, I had to get up early because we were going to hit the tennis courts on the holiday. Man did my feet ache after a couple hours on hot hard courts. And there was lunch later with Dad, so no resting after the shower. When I got back, I really wanted to rest, but I forced myself to do a little cleaning (serving trays and cutlery) and a little straightening before setting the DVR to record the Heat game and then hit the sack.
Today was regular tennis day and more inside cleaning and some laundry before tackling the outside cleanup tomorrow (patio washing, chairs carried to the front storage area, grill cleaning). Then I’ll be done. Until October, when I do it all again for Halloween.
I feel somewhat better today after a shower and a full lunch. Tonight is poker night, though, so I’ll be out late. Hopefully, my hangover won’t affect my betting!